WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - South Floridians are sending a message after the passage of a controversial bill in the Florida legislature.
Critics of the bill have said it targets LGBTQ students.
The Parental Rights in Education bill, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, passed in the Florida Senate with a 22-17 vote just before noon, Tuesday.
The fallout came quickly from political action groups.
“We know that every kid deserves to be treated with respect, that every family deserves dignity and for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ to be attacking our LGBTQ children,” said Andrea Mercado with Florida Rising.
A day later, protests were held across South Florida.
7SkyForce hovered over Cypress Bay High School in Weston on Wednesday morning where hundreds of students participated in a walkout.
The students could be seen walking along a track outside the campus.
At Coral Glades Senior High a sea of students marched along the football field to oppose the measure that forbids conversation about gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.
Over in Miami, protesters gathered outside Republican Senator Ileana Garcia’s office infuriated by her vote and her comments referring to sexual preference as a choice.
“It’s not permanent,” said Garcia. “This isn’t a permanent thing. It’s not a bad thing, either. Life is a journey. It’s a transition. It’s a decision.”
“Being gay isn’t permanent is what she said,” said a Florida Rising protester.
“For Iliana Garcia to go on the floor and say gay is not permanent and other homophobic comments, it’s just completely unacceptable,” said Mercado.
The demonstrators made their purpose clear stating they will say gay.
“We will not stay silent. We will raise our voices,” said Mercado. “We’re seeing students across the state take action and walk out. We’re seeing women take to the streets. We’re seeing so many people angry about what’s happening in Tallahassee, and we’re going to continue to take action. We’re going to register to vote, and we’re going to turn out to vote for people who will take our concerns seriously.”
The bill forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, rejecting a wave of criticism from Democrats saying it marginalizes LGBTQ people.
Proponents for the bill have said it gives parents the opportunity to talk about gender identity and sexuality at their own pace.
The bill is now heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. He is expected to sign the bill into law.
The CEO of Disney is expected to ask the Governor not to sign the Parental Rights Act.
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